January 6, 2012 by David Gillaspie
Real writing? (inspired by Seth Godin)
DG’s B&B depends on professional staff to get things right. Dr. Clockenhand, Director of Time Management, recently presented a paper on blogging and time.
“Often, the illiterate, or sadly, the non-literate, see writing as something done by ‘someone with way too much time on their hands to sit and type.’ They fail to see the difference between a writer and a court reporter, stenographer, or transcriptionist, if there is one.
Taken further, they fail to see the difference between a library and a news stand or magazine rack in a convenience store, which is where I get my news.
While this may be a common problem in modern culture, we need to understand the roots before we find the solution.
A time long ago and never to be repeated, the writer was a gassed-up recluse in an ivory tower receiving and transmitting unintelligible drivel for other writers to fawn over. Anyone else reading their work felt compelled to express how moved they were by the act of reading, if not understanding, the words on the page.
The more garbled the writer, the more transcendent the reader. In the private relationship between words and meaning, violations are seldom reported. The reader blames themselves for not paying better attention.
One example is the great Thomas Wolfe, famous for delivering thick manuscripts for his editor to shape into novels, even after death. His last book, You Can’t Go Home Again, came out in 1940, two years after Wolfe died. The title, like the title of the novel Catch-22, wove its way into the mainstream.
You Can’t Go Home Again is the story of a young author using his hometown as source material. Friends and neighbors were not amused.
From the ending we learn many things about Wolfe, and ourselves, and who we are today.
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time, back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”
What if Wolfe had been a blogger writing about his hometown and his family? Would they light torches and unleash the dachshunds, or ignore him because he’s not a real writer.
Would someone tell him to stop, find another subject, that they’re not scoring points?
A writer writes, even though what they write may not be real enough. It’s called hit or miss in the big leagues.
You show you belong by lifting the bat off your shoulder and swinging.
Michael Jordan reminded basketball players, and writers sharp enough to pay attention, that you miss every shot you never take.
For the sake of blogging, write a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph.
Do it often, then slide over to Larry Brooks and get your bad self organized.